Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dear Emerson

One year ago today you said hello to the world. I do not know what time you were born, or if you had any hair or if your eyes were that silvery newborn blue. I do not know if the medical staff realized immediately that you had Down syndrome, or perhaps your parents knew before you were born. Did the room fall silent while you cried, the joy that should have been there sucked out by misconceptions and fear? I know your mother and I must have shared the same emotions upon hearing such a diagnosis - disappointment, disbelief, grief - but did she still hold you against her chest and let her sobs lull you to sleep? Did her grief ever turn to acceptance, to enlightenment, to bliss?

I know that it was nearly 3 months before you were given over to the "Children's Center"... did you spend those three months alone in the hospital or did your parents intend to keep you with them forever but once they realized your heart was not well make the painful decision to give you up in hopes of sending you across an ocean to be healed?

I know the people taking care of you now are thought to be very kind and loving. I do not know how much you are held and tickled and kissed. I hope today it is all the time. I hope someone with gentle hands and a soft voice will blow bubbles beneath your chin until you giggle, engage in a great debate of coos and raspberries and kiss the adorable space between your first and second toes.

I do know that today I will bake cupcakes with your brothers and sister and tonight we will place one small candle in one and sing to you. I know that you can't hear us and will likely be sleeping deeply at that moment, but you are part of our family and we will celebrate your life anyways. Perhaps a few soft notes will find their way into your dreams. We will at some point snuff out the flame but we promise to save your wish for later.

These days I give even more kisses and hugs than usual, hoping that some of that love will spill over into the universe and reach you somehow, that you will feel that there are people out there who know of you and adore you and cannot wait just for the chance to see you smile.

I know that you were born into this world one year ago, but your life is soon to be just beginning. We cannot wait to watch.

Happy Birthday, little one!